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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Conference Finals

and then there were four.
The East
Philadelphia v Montreal: Who would have guessed that the number 7 and 8 seeds would be in a showdown to represent the East? Both of these teams had to go through grueling 7 game series in the 2nd round to get to this point, but the Habs also had a lengthy 7 game series in the first round. I've bet against them every time (figuratively, not physically) and they won each time. Traditionally I cheer for the Habs and cannot really stand the Flyers. However, I have been really impressed by the play of Jeff Carter this season and though he is injured and out have to admit that I am impressed with the way this club stepped up after going down 3-0 to Boston (getting Gange back into the lineup was quite the shot in the arm). The Habs, well, despite playing disciplined, defence first hockey and potentially getting Markov back into the lineup, I'm a bit worried. Most of their offence has pretty much come from one guy and they've won most of their games on the one-two-three punch of defence, Halak & Cammalleri...and after two straight 7 game series, how long can this keep going? I'm not sure who I want to win this one, because if the Habs go to the finals their already insufferable fans are just going to make me angrier and more dissappointed in les Quebcois and if the Flyers win, well, just two words: Dan Carcillo, I mean, really, who wants to see that guy succeed? However, I've picked against them twice and both times they've shown their will to win, so, I'll go with the Habs in 7.

The West
San Jose v Chicago: Here, on the polar opposite side, are the number 1 & 2 seeds in the Western conference. If you have read my other posts you know I've picked Chicago to go all the way, so, no sense in stopping now. I hope that this series can bring the edge-of-your-seat excitement I was expecting from the Hawks v Nucks series. Thorton, Marleau and Heatley have played well, especially in the last two games of the Detroit series but really it's been the Sharks secod line of Pavelski, Clowe and Setoguchi that have powered SJ to their first Conference Final since 2003-2004. Dan Boyle has been great but I feel like Rob Blake, though still playing big minutes, is a bit of a geriatric and who are the other SJ defensive pairings again? On the flip side there's Kane and Toews who have combined for 35 points (20 for Toews who has been dominant against the Sharks and 15 for Mr Mullet) in 12 games. The NHL 2010 bromance of the year, Keith and Seabrook, did a great job shutting down the Sedins and I look for them to frustrate the hell out of the Sharks big three. We'll see if Hjarlmarsson and Campbell can be equally successful against SJ's second line. I can see the Sharks winning but really, Hawks in 6.

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